- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A man who participated in the occupation of a national wildlife refuge in southeast Oregon was arrested after threatening to shoot law enforcement officers earlier this week, a county prosecutor said.

A Grant County sheriff’s deputy arrested Scott Willingham at a motel in the small town of Mount Vernon after Willingham said that if he wasn’t jailed Wednesday, he would start shooting federal law enforcement officers the next morning, District Attorney Jim Carpenter told The Oregonian (http://is.gd/LXIuOR ).

According to Carpenter, Willingham said during an arraignment Thursday that he’s awaiting arrest for his role in the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County and, in the meantime, wanted to be jailed in neighboring Grant County. The sheriff in Grant County, Glenn Palmer, is under investigation after meeting twice with occupation leaders in January.

Gerri Badden, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, told The Associated Press there were currently no federal charges against Willingham.

In an interview with The Oregonian last month, the 49-year-old Willingham described himself as an unemployed musician who was part of the security team at the refuge. He said he left after Ammon Bundy and other leaders were arrested Jan. 26 and Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 54, was shot to death as he attempted to elude police. In all, 24 people have been arrested.

Willingham said he went to Nevada, but returned to the refuge in early February to help end the 41-day protest. The occupiers wanted the U.S. government to relinquish public lands to locals and free two ranchers who they say were wrongly imprisoned for setting fires.

In Grant County, he faces charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a weapon. Carpenter said Willingham had a semi-automatic rifle and 230 rounds of ammunition when he was arrested.

Willingham has applied for a court-appointed attorney, a courthouse employee said Friday. He didn’t enter a plea and is being held on $35,000 bail.

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